If there is a human brain that needs to be researched upon, next to Einstein’s, it is author Shatrujeet Nath’s. I am not trying to exaggerate, but you will understand the truth in my statement if you’ve read his second book, The Guardians of the Halahala. Certainly, such an intricately woven plot could not have come from an ordinary brain!
When I read The Immortals of Meluah by Amish Tripathi, I felt it was the best mythological fiction. It may not be right to compare the efforts, work and creativity of two artists, however, it feels compelling to reveal that The Guardians of the Halahala definitely has an edge over the former. Eagerly looking forward to the next in the trilogy series.
It’s simply a must-read for all readers interested in Indian mythology.
(This review is also posted at my Book Reviews Blog, Nandhini’s Book Reviews)
The Guardians of the Halahala is a historical fiction, based on Indian mythology. The churning of the ocean by Asuras and Devas in search of the Amrit followed by the discovery of the deadly poison, Halahala that was consumed by Lord Shiva in order to protect the Asuras and the Devas, is a familiar Hindu mythology. However, what we wouldn’t have possibly known is the fate of the concealed portion of Halahala by an Asura, which has the power to destroy any magnificent enemy. Though Lord Shiva had safe guarded it for long, it is time to leave it safe to another hands. King Vikramaditya and his nine councilors are the chosen ones to pursue this daunting task of combating the powerful forces of the Asuras and Devas and at the same time save their kingdom and people and most importantly, guard the Halahala.
The book transports the readers straight to ancient India. The royal court scenes and battle field portions have been narrated so realistically that one can effortlessly rebuild all of it in the mental screen. The narration is sometimes poetic, sometimes fierce and sometimes just plain, exactly in accordance with the mood of the situation. The most admirable aspect of the narration is the significance given to even the minute details of the plot. Here are a few lines that I must have read at least a ten times:
‘The sun had yet to shake off its slumber when the small boat slipped through the dark water…’ (Page 28)
‘The darkness that had enveloped the plain just moments ago was now punctuated by hundreds and hundreds of pinpricks of phosphorescent light, winking eerily through the fine drizzle like silver-green fireflies.’ (Page 218)
‘…the king’s foot skidded every now and then to dislodge an avalanche of pebbles, which rolled down and disappeared into the fetid, gray-black waters of the Kshipra. The river barely moved, and even the ripples from the falling pebbles died prematurely on its sludgy surface.’ (Page 348)
There’s almost nothing I could find that needs a scope for improvement. However, a friendly warning that I would like to give the readers is that you will meet new characters almost every now and then. Most of the characters are known as much as they are unknown. In case you do not get to complete the book within a few days, as happened to me, you are sure to go back and forth to recollect the events, places and characters.
The intoxication of the splendid writing hasn’t got over me yet. And it feels difficult to write anything more about this book.
Reviewed for the Author
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a complimentary copy from the Author in exchange for a honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
My sincere apology to the author for the delayed review though I cherished reading several portions, several times.
Title: The Guardians of the Halahala
Author: Shatrujeet Nath
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
About the Book
The deadly Halahala, the all-devouring poison churned from the depths of the White Lake by the devas and asuras, was swallowed by Shiva to save the universe from extinction.
But was the Halahala truly destroyed?
A small portion still remains – a weapon powerful enough to guarantee victory to whoever possesses it. And both asuras and devas, locked in battle for supremacy, will stop at nothing to claim it.
As the forces of Devaloka and Patala, led by Indra and Shukracharya, plot to possess the Halahala, Shiva turns to mankind to guard it from their murderous clutches. It is now up to Samrat Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine to quell the supernatural hordes – and prevent the universe from tumbling into chaos!
A sweeping tale of honour and courage in the face of infinite danger, greed and deceit, The Guardians of the Halahala is a fantastical journey into a time of myth and legend.
About the Author
Shatrujeet Nath has sold ice-creams, peddled computer training courses, written ad copy, and reported on business as a journalist and assistant editor at The Economic Times. His first book, The Karachi Deception, was published in 2013. The Guardians of the Halahala, his second book, and the first in The Vikramaditya Trilogy series, was published in 2014. At present, he is writing The Conspiracy at Meru, the second volume of the trilogy. When he is not writing, he can be seen reading or playing with his daughter – or daydreaming of buying a small castle in Scotland.